8 July, 2016

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

All of you by now are probably aware of the deadly shootings in Dallas which killed five police officers, as well as the recent shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Baton Rouge. This has truly been a period of social unbalance in our society – tragic, to say the least.

Sadly, whenever these acts of violence and injustice take place, many of us forget that we are Christians. We often respond with hate and anger. But those responses are as pagans would respond, and they are as tragic as the crimes themselves. Short-term anger may serve to urge us to some type of positive action, and if so, it can be helpful. Long-term anger is destructive. And hatred can serve no purpose. So in the end, our emotions rarely provide solutions.

In times like these, when racial issues are in question and the news is dominated by violence against black and white people, I believe it is important to remind ourselves that the great majority of white people in this country have not an ounce of hatred toward black people, nor does the great majority of black people hold any hatred toward whites. And that includes those who serve on our police forces.

It is also important for us to understand that still, in this modern era, many people in our country are very afraid of being singled out, taken advantage of, even harmed physically because of the color of their skin. It is sad, but it is fact. This is why I caution restraint as we address the problems of injustice, racial prejudice, and violence.

Violence will never solve the problem of racial hatred, police brutality, and social injustice. Retaliation will only lead to more violence and more retaliation.

The way forward is the biblical way, the way of the Prince of Peace. Every one of us needs to walk on a path of love, understanding, and respect for people who are different from us. All of us need to forgive, and ask for forgiveness, as we prayerfully seek the Lord's intervention and grace for our country.

Let us pray: Gracious and eternal Father, we ask you to grant your mercy and comfort to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in Dallas yesterday. We pray as well as for those who have been victims of violence and those who suffer from social unrest in other cities. Help us all to overcome racial hatred, prejudice, anger, and violence in the United States and around the world. May the Lord give us peace and hope as we care for one another amidst the darkness around us. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen